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Full text of "My Country And My People"

156          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

sanctioned the marrying of concubines in the case of a man
reaching forty without male progeny.

Moreover, concubinage in a way takes the place of divorce
in Western countries. Marriage and divorce are the most
complicated social problems, and no one has yet solved them.
No perfect solution has yet been invented by the human mind,
except that Roman Catholic solution which ignores the
existence of such problems altogether. The only thing sure is
that marriage is the safest protection for women, and whenever
men's morals relax it is the women who suffer, whether it be
through divorce, concubinage, companionate marriage or free
love. There is by nature something eternally unequal and
unfair in the sexual arrangement. For sexual equality is an
unknown word in nature, whose sole concern is the propagation
of the race. The so-called modern marriages on a fifty-fifty
basis have always become a seventy-five and twenty-five
arrangement in favour of the men with the advent of children,
and if the woman is sporting enough to release the husband
"when love ceases" the man of forty enjoys advantages which
the divorced woman of forty and mother of three children
cannot have. No true equality is possible.

It is in this sense that some defence may be made in favour of
concubinage. The Chinese regard marriage as a family affair,
and when marriage fails they accept concubinage, which at
least keeps the family intact as a social unit. The West, in
turn, regards marriage as an individual, romantic and senti-
mental affair, and therefore accepts divorce, which breaks
up the social unit. In the East, when a man gets too rich, has
nothing to do, degenerates and neglects his wife for his favourite,
the wife suppresses her libido but keeps her established position,
still very highly honoured as head of the family and sur-
rounded by her own children. In the West, the modern wife
sues for divorce, gets her alimony and goes away, perhaps to
remarry. Whether the wife who remains neglected by her
husband but honoured by. the household and holding at least
a theoretic supremacy over the concubines, or the wife who gets
her alimony and lives apart is happier is a question that is
perplexing in the highest degree. In China, where the women
have not the spirit of independence of their Western sisters,